We all know the story.
At the beginning of the Raiders’ 2013 training camp, all eyes were on Matt Flynn. The Raiders were going to be an efficient, if unspectacular, West Coast style offense centered around Darren McFadden. They were going to rely on the quick passing game to mask Flynn’s underwhelming arm; and most importantly, they weren’t going to be competitive.
Then the week 3 preseason match-up vs. the Chicago Bears happened, and the world took notice. Pryor became an almost Tebow-esque figure of polarization; supporters likened him to the recent injection of new-age quarterbacks who had been making waves throughout the league. They had thought– perhaps “hoped” would have been more fitting, at the time– that he could do for the Raiders what Colin Kaepernick had done for the 49ers only a year ago. Skeptics scoffed at the idea that Terrelle Pryor, with his flawed mechanics and questionable ability to read complex NFL defenses, could pioneer a turnaround that would in any way, shape, or form resemble the turnaround made across the bay.
Yet, here we are, going into week 6 of the 2013 NFL season, and all it takes is a quick look at the numbers to see that those hopes may have been rooted in real soil after all.
The biggest knock on Pryor coming into the year was that in order to be a dual-threat option at the quarterback position, you had to be able to run and throw the ball with equal effectiveness. There was no denying his unparalleled athleticism and electric playmaking ability, but huge questions remained regarding his ability to deliver accurate passes, particularly from the pocket. Those doubters have been silenced– because through five weeks, Terrelle Pryor boasts a total completion percentage of 68.3%, a whopping 12.2% advantage over Kaepernick. Kaepernick holds the edge in yards (969-845), but nearly half of that total came in Week 1 and he hasn’t eclipsed 200 yards in any of his 4 games since. For contrast, Pryor has thrown for less than 200 yards only once on the year, demonstrating superior performance on a consistent basis week-to-week.
As for the aforementioned rushing ability: Pryor is still pretty good there, too. He has rushed for 229 yards to Kaepernick’s 154, and packs a 6.2 yard per carry average.
It’s a testament to the ways of the NFL; you never know who is going to emerge and when. You have to expect the unexpected, because those who said a few short months ago that Pryor vs. Kaepernick wouldn’t even be a competition, they were right. Their only misstep was on who would be the victor.